Francesco Group is one of the biggest and most reputable hairdressing salons in the United Kingdom. It started out as a family business in 1967 and today has more than 33 salons all over the Midlands, in central England. Francesco Group is recognized for maintaining very high standards in hairdressing, and it therefore decided to pass that knowledge on. Today it has four academies that teach hairdressing, and over the last year and a half it has adopted E-Learning for teaching its methods; it now has over 200 students.
We spoke to Gemma Maxwell, a work-based learning manager at Francesco Group who told us five reasons why this salon group is the best place to study.
1. Francesco Group uses a blended learning methodology. This means that the theoretical part of the hairdressing industry is taught online via Moodlerooms, and the practical side is taught both in a classroom and in one of the FG salons, other independent salons or one of their prestigious academy salons, so that students can understand customer demands and requests. They started working with E-Learning because they found that teaching theoretical work took up a lot of the teaching staff’s time. E-Learning has allowed students to work at their own pace and has also led to self-directed learning. Additionally, the Moodlerooms platform allows them to keep in touch with their students all the time and track their progress. With this blended learning teaching style, students only have to go into the academy every other week, thus giving them time to study at their own pace and even do other jobs when they aren’t at the academy.
2. In order to maintain Francesco Group standards, it is important for the academy to be able to understand what exact level a student is at. With Moodlerooms, they therefore established a badge system. The way this works is that for every level, a student has to earn 6 or 7 badges, and once the student has got all of them, he or she is awarded the course badge. This helps, because the student can’t move on to the next level unless he or she understands everything needed in order to proceed. This is good for both student and teacher, because the student, since the system is virtual, can go back and repeat until he or she fully understands the concepts , while the teacher can ensure that students have no basic flaws in what they are learning, thus raising the bar in terms of future graduate quality. Francesco Group teaches a range of classes through E-Learning: everything from coloring courses, cutting courses, advanced color, advanced cutting and gentleman hairdressing to an induction program for new learners, employer responsibility, and customer service. After students receive the course badge, they can work on their practical skills in one of the salons with real customers, and an assessor is there to make sure they are doing everything correctly and maintaining the standards that should be adhered to.
3. Being able to graduate from any of the various Francesco Group courses means that students are employable not only by FG but also in other salons around the world, and even in other fields. Gemma explains that since they teach customer service, they focus on speaking and listening skills and students are taught to work with real customers, which means they can work in retail, merchandizing, customer service and a number of other areas if they choose to. However, if they complete their studies successfully, they will find that they have 33 Francesco Group salons where they can work, plus another 52 FG partner salons. The job opportunities after studying in one of these academies are amazing. Gemma says that working for Francesco Group is like being part of a family because it is a family business and Frank Dellicompagni, the owner, will appreciate everything a person brings to the company and will make sure that he or she isn’t simply one more employee. She says that this, in the long run, has been what has made Francesco Group so successful.
4.Francesco Group has developed each of its styles and techniques over the years, and this is something every student learns at the academy. The group’s standards are what have won it a number of awards, created the reputation it has, and are the most basic reason why a person interested in this field should want to study there. On top of this, there are creative experts in the field who are always looking for new trends in the world that customers and the industry are therefore asking for. These experts ensure that the teaching staff are always up-to-date on the latest trends and that they pass that knowledge on to their students. With this in mind, Francesco Group has 18 partner colleges all around the United Kingdom. What this means is that FG teaching staff go to those colleges and train their teachers in FG standards, thus ensuring that students who aren’t under the Francesco Group umbrella are equally employable.
5. Hairdressing is not an exact science. It is a job fueled by creativity, along with knowing how to interact with the customer. This is the final, fundamental reason for studying with Francesco Group: it understands that every student and employee is different and has his or her own set of skills. It therefore allows creativity and dynamism to flourish at all times. Francesco Group works with the most commercial hair demands, as well as competition challenges, and teaches and trains its staff in line with their individual skills, allowing them to embrace their creative side.
High standards are what any teaching institute in the world should aspire to bring out in its students, and Francesco Group has definitely made this a priority. This, together with E-Learning to allow the individual to grow, is in itself a good enough reason for considering this academy as a place to study at.
*Gemma Maxwell, Work Based Learning Manager, Francesco Group
*Photos by: Oli Scarff